Recent Attorney General Opinion Potentially Limits Building Official Options

In many communities around the state it has been common practice for years to have either privatized some function of the building department or shared those duties with neighboring municipalities. Last month, the Attorney General released an opinion stating the building official must be directly employed by a municipality so as to keep the policing powers within the local unit of government (opinion here: http://www.ag.state.mi.us/opinion/datafiles/2010s/op10364.htm).  After a meeting with the Attorney General’s office, it is clear their interpretation of the law is building inspectors can be employed by a third party but the building official themselves must be directly employed by the municipality and not by contract or arrangement with a third party or other unit of government.

This calls into question not only third party contracts but also arrangements between municipalities where the building official is not the direct employee of each entity. In many situations the building official is shared amongst multiple jurisdictions but employed by only 1 of those municipalities.

We are heavily involved in this issue and have requested the following feedback from each community to provide as much data as possible as we look for possible solutions to this problem:

  1. How is your building official employed (through the community directly, through a third party, through an authority, shared with a neighboring municipality)?
  2. If through an authority, what is the name of that authority and who operates the authority?
  3. If through a third party, which company?
  4. If shared among municipalities, with whom and which municipality employs that building official?

If your community is negatively impacted by this opinion, I would encourage you to reach out to your legislator and convey to them the impact this would have on your building department operations and the potential to increase costs in your budget.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback on this issue.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate with the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Redevelopment Ready Communities Program 2015 Training Schedule Set

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation Redevelopment Ready Communities (RRC) program has set the training schedule for the 2015 calendar year (See flyer: RRC Best Practice Training Series (2)). Each participant will learn about RRCs Best Practices 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 depending on which date (s) is registered for.  Participants will receive detailed information, examples and implementation steps from experts in each of these RRC Best Practices.

Participants who attend all six training sessions will receive a certificate of completion for the training series, which will signal that the community is taking proactive steps towards being Redevelopment Ready.

The training sessions are being held at the League’s Lansing Office.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues for the League.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.  

Bill Prohibiting Local Regulation of Knives Passes Senate

This week, the full Senate passed SB 305, a bill to prohibit local units of government from regulating the transportation, possession, sale, or licensing of a knife or knife making components.  This bill would also prohibit a local unit of government from regulating the manufacture of a knife more restrictively than the manufacture of any other commercial good.

The League is opposed to this legislation and it now moves to the House for consideration.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Legislative Committee Subpoena Power Bill Moves to Senate

The House of Representatives voted out HB 4522, a bill providing legislative committees dealing with review of auditor general reports power to subpoena local units of government and schools.

The ability to subpoena local records is already allowed under Act 118 of 1931 by a resolution of the full house/senate.  This legislation would give authority to the committee that receives and reviews auditor general reports (the Oversight committee in this case) to subpoena witnesses by a vote of the committee  and not the full house/senate.

The League, along with the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Sheriff’s Association and school organizations, is opposed to this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Physically Present to Vote Bill Clears House

HB 4182 (Rep. Price, R – Holland) passed out of the full house this week.  This bill amends the Open Meetings Act and would make it a requirement that an elected member of a public body must be physically present to vote on an issue in order for a meeting to be considered open to the public, unless it is an emergency session, in which case this requirement does not apply.

The bill now moves onto the Senate Elections and Government Reform Committee for consideration.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Transit Oriented Development Bill Gets Hearing in House Committee

A bill, HB 4422, to allow for transit oriented development activities in business improvement zones received a hearing in the House Commerce and Trade committee this week. We thank Rep. Andy Schor for introducing this legislation!  Transit is vital to attracting and retaining talented individuals in our communities and having this financing option as a tool will be important in seeing economic development happen around those transit stops.

The League is fully supportive of this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Bill Prohibiting Local Regulation of Knives Passes Senate Committee

This week, SB 305, a bill to prohibit local units of government from regulating the transportation, possession, sale, or licensing of a knife or knife making components, passed the Senate Local Government Committee.  This bill would also prohibit a local unit of government from regulating the manufacture of a knife more restrictively than the manufacture of any other commercial good.

The League is opposed to this legislation and it is now before the full Senate.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

 

 

Legislative Subpoena Authority Bills Move Out of Committee

Yesterday, the House Oversight and Ethics committee passed out HB 4522 with only one legislator voting no.  A different substitute was adopted from last week requiring that at least one minority vote must be in favor of passing the subpoena resolution in an attempt to help limit abuse of the act.  It also stated an attorney must be consulted before passing the resolution and the normal 18 hour notice of a committee hearing must now be a 72 hour notice when a subpoena resolution will be on the agenda.

The ability to subpoena local records is already allowed under Act 118 of 1931 by a resolution of the full house/senate.  This legislation would give authority to the committee that receives and reviews auditor general reports (the Oversight committee in this case) to subpoena witnesses by a vote of the committee  and not the full house/senate.

The League along well the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Sheriff’s Association and school organizations are opposed to this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

 

Senate Passes Mobile Home Legislation

Today the full Senate unanimously passed HB 4054 this week, a bill that makes changes to the Mobile Home Commission Act.  HB 4054 is a reintroduction from last year by Rep. Andy Schor in an effort to address a situation that occurred in his district with the Life O’Riley Mobile Home Park. This legislation requires the DEQ to outline clear roles for local units of government and enforcement (a problem that occurred with the Life O’Riley mobile home park that ended being condemned and residents forced to seek housing elsewhere). In addition, there are more reporting requirements of the DEQ to local units of government of rules promulgated or when a mobile home is found to be in violation.

The League is supportive of this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use, and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.

Bill Giving Subpoena Power to Legislative Committee Gets Hearings in House

Today, the House Oversight and Ethics committee for the second week took up HB 4522, a bill that would grant any legislative committee subpoena power over local units of government and schools.  A substitute was adopted that narrowed this to only the committees who receive and review the auditor general reports (oversight committee) in each of the house and senate and would require a resolution passed by 2/3 of the committee.

The ability to subpoena local records is already allowed under Act 118 of 1931 by a resolution of the full house/senate.  This legislation would give authority to the committee that recieve and review auditor general reports (the Oversight committee in this case) to subpoena witnesses by a 2/3 vote of the committee members and not the full house/senate.

The League is opposed to this legislation.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at nbrown@mml.org or 517-908-0305.